Minnesota resident charged with three counts of mistreatment of animals in recent humane investigations case


In June, Animal Humane Society helped with the seizure of more than 70 horses from a rural property in Odin, Minnesota — the largest horse seizure in the history of AHS.

A local citizen contacted the Watonwan County Sheriff’s office with concern about the condition and welfare of the horses. A sheriff’s deputy, who later reached out to AHS humane agent Keith Streff for assistance, was the first to visit the property. Prior to the seizure, the sheriff’s deputy witnessed multiple dead horses and others, still living, in poor health. Former owner Michael Johnson agreed to give up custody of the ponies, which are now in the care of local veterinarian Shirley Kittleson. 

Many of the live horses suffered from overgrown hooves — some as much as 6 to 8 inches — which make it difficult for horses to walk and stand, and reflect months or even years of neglect. 

On September 13, Johnson was charged with animal cruelty, animal neglect, and not providing proper equine hoof care.

Overgrown hoof

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